Finally Friday Reads: It’s time for this version of Republicanism to go the way of the Whigs

Elenka, 1936, Alice Neel

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The news from around the country is not good as radical republican Governors seeking the Trump base to run in 2024 grind their states into a march back to the Dark Ages.  Meanwhile, the folks coming behind them may be worse. Take Louisiana’s AG Jeff Landry, please!  This is a read-out of what he’s been doing to us in New Orleans because we’ve got better things to do than hunt pregnant women who may want abortions and ensure they’re forced to give birth. This is from Jezabel: “Louisiana Delays Critical Flood Response Funds to New Orleans Over Abortion Politics, AG Jeff Landry just delayed a $39 million line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board the city won’t enforce the new abortion ban.” This story is reported by Lorena O’Neil.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission on Thursday to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban. The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans has issued a flood advisory.

The financing that’s being held hostage would, specifically, be used to build a power station for the Sewerage & Water Board to help combat flooding. Melinda Deslatte, a research director at Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, live-tweeted today’s meeting, in which Republican politicians decided to punish New Orleans, a Democratic stronghold in the state, for defending abortion rights in the wake of a near-total ban. (Officials in New Orleans, including even the police, have vowed not to enforce the state’s new ban, which has already pushed out all three of its abortion clinics.)

Read more about the impact on the City at the link.  Here’s more from investigative reporter Sam Karlin living in the city. The NOPD will not make arrests but now say they will investigate.

Alice Neel, Self‑Portrait, 1980

We currently have a police shortage typical of many big cities these days. Why put our police to work on this ridiculousness and make a big deal of it?  Landry seeks to replace John Bel Edwards as Louisiana’s governor next year.  Will Louisiana’s three big cities that lost their abortion clinics and the surrounding areas come out to ensure he doesn’t get into the position to Desantis/Abbott our state into White Christian Nationalism?  Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, a shocking story presented on MSNBC by Alex Wagner shows that “DeSantis imposes extreme culture war framing on nuanced U.S. civics.”  This includes downplaying the role of slavery in the country, promoting Scalia and his strict views on originalism, showing that slave-owning founders didn’t like slavery with no citations to the quotes, and promoting the idea that the founders really wanted a country that was essentially a Christian state with no separation between that religion and the state.  It even includes a cartoon of the idea of a porous and fluid fence rather than a wall. This is all wrapped up in a seminar aimed at getting Florida’s educators to join in clearly White Christian Patriarchal Nationalism propagandizing.

Please watch and see the appalling materials as a young Florida Civics Teacher reveals the material and its shortcomings. A discussion with Professor Jelanie Cobb follows.

Also, DeSantis has instigated an “election crimes” law.   According to The Washington Post, “DeSantis’s new election crimes unit makes its first arrests.   The targets are folks who are formerly-incarcerated individuals that voted.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the first arrests made by the state’s new elections police force Thursday: Twenty people previously incarcerated for murder or sexual assault who he said had illegally voted in the 2020 election.

The GOP-led Florida legislature passed a bill creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year at DeSantis’s behest. While the 2020 election went smoothly in Florida — DeSantis called it the “gold standard” for elections — the governor has said there are still issues and conservative lawmakers have sought to further tighten voting regulations.

The governor — widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate — heralded the arrests, saying the unit had “sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud.” DeSantis said they had been arrested for violating the rules of a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018 that allows formerly incarcerated people to register to vote — except for those who committed felony sexual assault or murder.

“This is just the opening salvo,” DeSantis said. “This is not the sum total of 2020.”

But voting groups and experts said that if anything the initial arrests indicate Florida’s election system is robust and crimes rare. Some expressed concern that the new unit could have a chilling effect, particularly on vulnerable groups of voters, such as formerly incarcerated people who are legally entitled to vote.

“It’s 20 people out of millions of voters,” Michael McDonald, an expert on voting and a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “These arrests are inconsequential to the integrity of the electoral system.”

DeSantis made the announcement flanked by law enforcement officers in Broward County, which has the most registered Democrats of any county in Florida. The arrests came about six weeks after the office opened and five days before the state’s primary election.

Girl Before a Mirror, Pablo Picasso, 1932

A Florida judge has stopped parts of DeSantis’ “Stop Woke” Act.  This is from The Insider: “Florida judge blocks parts of DeSantis-backed ‘Stop WOKE Act,’ saying the state has turned into the upside-down world from ‘Stranger Things’.”  Kimberly Leonard is the reporter on this piece.

A federal judge has suspended partial enforcement of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” a bill that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed that restricts how companies and schools discuss race.

DeSantis signed the bill into law in April. It would limit race-based teachings in schools, and the way that private companies carry out mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. Companies that have 15 employees or more could face civil lawsuits if someone accuses them of violating the law.

In his opinion, Chief US District Judge Mark Walker blocked the employer portion of the law, saying it violated free speech. He compared the law to Netflix’s blockbuster science-fiction hit, “Stranger Things.”

“In the popular television series Stranger Things, the ‘upside down’ describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world,” Walker, a nominee of then-President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion. “Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down.”

“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” Walker continued. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”

The governor’s press office told Insider on Friday that it planned to appeal the decision.

“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a first amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” said communications director Taryn Fenske. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”

The law targeted what many Republicans call “critical race theory.” Formally, critical race theory examines racism in US institutions stemming from slavery and the Jim Crow era. Democrats have argued it’s mostly taught in law schools, and defenders of DEI trainings say it’s necessary to prevent implicit bias, discrimination, and racism.

Gustav Klimt – Hope, II, 1907′

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your future Orwellian Republican State!

There are three articles today that show a disturbing future for anti-Trump Republicans like Liz Cheney. This first one is from Ben Jacobs writing for VOX. “The Never Trump wing of the GOP never had a chance. Liz Cheney’s loss made clear Trump’s GOP detractors have little electoral sway.”

The bad news for Never Trump Republicans this week wasn’t just that Liz Cheney lost the primary for her Wyoming congressional seat on Tuesday. It wasn’t even that she lost by such an overwhelming margin. It was that her loss fit a pattern in which the GOP’s voters have roundly rejected Republican after Republican who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the 10 House Republicans who did so will even be on the ballot in November — one of whom is running in a district that Joe Biden won by more than 10 percentage points in 2020.

It’s clear at this point that the Republican Party is a pro-Trump party, and that its voters recoil from candidates who are ardently opposed to the former president. The results of this primary season — and Cheney’s loss in particular — show a Never Trump wing on the verge of extinction.

Cheney’s loss follows those this year of Reps. Peter Meijer of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Tom Rice of South Carolina, among those Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Another four Republican House members who voted to impeach — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton of Michigan — opted against even running for reelection.

This continues a trend within the GOP since Trump took office, as Republican critics like Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona have opted not to seek reelection, while others, like Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, lost their primaries.

“I’m unaware of any Republican primary where the organizing principle that Trump is a bad guy was ever successful,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close Trump ally in Congress who had been campaigning against Cheney since days after her impeachment vote, told Vox. “Republicans might have squeaked through who were not pro-Trump, but those candidates had some other organizing principle. Liz Cheney didn’t, and that’s why she lost so badly.”

Even an ardent Never Trumper like Tim Miller, a former top Republican operative and author of a recent New York Times bestseller, Why We Did It, conceded that Trump won the battle for the soul of the GOP. “A lot of people misunderstand what is happening in this moment and think the Republican Party might somehow go back to being the party of Liz Cheney and Paul Ryan,” Miller said. “It’s never going back — at least not any time on the horizon.”

Wait!  There’s more!  Susan Glasser says it’s “Trumpism vs Hopium”.

By Wednesday, Eric Trump was bragging about his father as one of the all-time great political assassins. “Last night, my father killed another political dynasty, and that’s the Cheneys,” he told the Newsmax host Eric Bolling. “He first killed the Bushes, then he killed the Clintons. Last night, he killed the Cheneys. He’s been rino hunting ever since he got into politics, and last night he was successful again.” Trump’s story, as narrated by his son, is that of a political axe murderer—a grim reaper of the “Republican in Name Only” establishment. In the Trump lexicon, “killer” is a compliment. Donald Trump himself has bragged about this, explaining that the term constituted high praise from his ruthless father, Fred, who taught him to be one.

The family must be so proud. Trump has zealously stuck to the paternal creed. From the start, he has been an almost uniquely destructive force in American politics, a leader not only willing to blow anything up that stands in his path but one who glories in the act. The result has been a Republican Party transformed almost entirely into Trump’s Republican Party. Nearly all of those who stood against him have been purged or defeated or have cravenly renounced their previous views. “She may have been fighting for principles,” Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, said, after Cheney’s loss, “but they are not the principles of the Republican Party.” Which is as close to an inarguably true statement as has ever been issued by the Mar-a-Lago government in exile. The Republican Party’s ideology these days is simply whatever-Trump-wants-ism, as it made clear when it did not even bother to issue a new policy platform at its 2020 convention, settling instead for a simple resolution saying that it was for Trump. Being a classy winner, though, is clearly not part of the emerging party doctrine. After the Wyoming results came in, Budowich posted to Twitter a video compilation of Trump dancing, set to the tune of “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” along with the message “Bye bye, @Liz_Cheney.”

The results of this midterm season so far have shown how nearly complete Trump’s Republican triumph already is. Dozens of election deniers who have adopted the former President’s lies about his 2020 election loss have won Republican nominations, up and down the ballot. Only two of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection are still in the running to remain in Congress. And, of course, polls show that Trump himself remains a strong front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024. The headlines after Tuesday’s voting would have been inconceivable in the immediate aftermath of his failed effort to hold onto power: “Trump’s dominance in GOP comes into focus,” the Washington Post said. “Cheney’s Wyoming defeat is a win for Trump and a decisive blow to fading GOP establishment,” the Los Angeles Times declared. “Cheney’s defeat end of an era for GOP; Trump’s party now,” the Associated Press said. So why are Trump’s opponents—at least some of them—feeling in any way optimistic?

Man Mocked by Two Women. Francisco Goya, 1820-23

May I have some hopium, please?  Like, lots of it?

But, over the summer, a new school of what might be called “Trumptimism” has taken hold among some Democratic strategists and independent analysts. In the mess of our current politics, they discern a case for optimism—history-defying, experience-flouting optimism that maybe things won’t work out so badly after all in November. “In the age of Trump, nothing is normal,” Simon Rosenberg, the president of the liberal think tank the New Democrat Network and a veteran strategist, told me, on Thursday. “Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?”

Follow the link to read the rationale behind the assertion. Meanwhile, the Republican with the most fluid values ever discourages Liz Cheney from running for President.  “What Mitt Romney says about Liz Cheney possibly running for president”.  If this man ever had a hope to make any of us sorry he couldn’t hold any higher office he’s blown it now.

As Rep. Liz Cheney contemplates her next move after losing the Republican primary in Wyoming this week, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says he wouldn’t encourage her to run for president.

“I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur,” Romney told the Deseret News on Thursday.

Cheney, he said, might run for other purposes but “I’m not in collaboration with that effort.”

Remember, this is from the man that put his dog on the top of his car while driving fast.  He’s all in it for the convenience.

And yet, the Biden Administration really tries to get us all back in to America he envisions.  He’s even thrown us a “United We Stand” Summit so leaders can show that it’s possible. “Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on The White House “United We Stand” Summit.”

On Thursday, September 15, President Biden will host at the White House the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared vision for a more united America.

President Biden decided to run for president after the horror of the hate-fueled violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Since taking office, his Administration has consistently taken steps to counter hate-motivated violence — from signing the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, to releasing the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, to signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislation in three decades to reduce gun violence.

Even as our nation has endured a disturbing series of hate-fueled attacks, from Oak Creek to Pittsburgh, from El Paso to Poway, from Atlanta to Buffalo, Americans remain overwhelmingly united in their opposition to such violence. The United We Stand Summit will bring together heroes from across America who are leading historic work in their communities to build bridges and address hate and division, including survivors of hate-fueled violence. The summit will include a bipartisan group of federal, state, and local officials, civil rights groups, faith and community leaders, technology and business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent hate groups who now work to prevent violence, gun violence prevention leaders, media representatives, and cultural figures. It will feature a keynote speech from President Biden as well as inclusive, bipartisan panels and conversations on countering hate-fueled violence, preventing radicalization and mobilization to violence, and fostering unity.

As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation “we must all enlist in this great cause of America.” The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.

Is this possible given that the states that have more wildlife and vacant land still control entire states and send 2 senators to the District? Will, this 30% that includes Racists, Gun Toting Militias, White Christian Militias, Incels, and folks that hate independent women and the GLBT community really coming around to uniting with the rest of us?

This is from the HRC link above. It’s from The Washington Post.

Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the gathering, which the White House says will include civil rights groups, faith leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, the victims of extremist violence and cultural figures. The White House emphasized that it also intends to bring together Democrats and Republicans, as well as political leaders on the federal, state and local levels to unite against hate-motivated violence.

Biden, a Democrat, has frequently cited 2017’s white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with bringing him out of political retirement to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020. He promised during that campaign to work to bridge political and social divides and to promote national unity, but fulfilling that cause remains a work in progress.

Sindy Benavides, the CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens, said the genesis of the summit came after the Buffalo massacre, as her organization along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network and other groups wanted to press the Biden administration to more directly tackle extremist threats.

But how do we solve a problem like Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Green, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Landry, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and all the the other Trump Zombies?

Vote them out if we can!  I’m not sure his voters can be shamed into embracing the American Dream ever again.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Accountability

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Well, the first public hearing of the January 6 Committee’s investigation of the Trump-led insurrection was broadcasted on all the major TV stations and news stations. It was a searing combination of testimony–both in person and by video–as well as a massive TV providing highlights of violence previously unseen. It was a tribute to the men and women of the Capitol Police as well as the beginning of a suggested indictment of Trump and his enablers.

The so-called Fox “News” station broadcast Tucker Carlson with his spurious version of a false-flag event made to make Republicans look like racists.  Phillip Bump analyzed this pathetic attempt to rally the racists, misogynists, fascists, christofascists, and Homophobic riff-raff to rage. I’m not sure he succeeded if you read this account.  I  was obviously watching the public hearings. From The Washington Post: Fox News didn’t just ignore the Jan. 6 hearing. It did something worse.”

When 8 p.m. Eastern rolled around, though, it became clear that the network wasn’t simply going to not cover the hearing. Instead, it began more than two hours of commercial-free rebuttal. It didn’t simply cover other things, it focused almost entirely on the hearing as though it was former president Donald Trump’s defense team — without, of course, showing its audience the prosecution’s case.

Part of that was probably timing. The hearing began just as Tucker Carlson’s show kicked off, and few people in America have been more energetically engaged than Carlson in casting the Jan. 6 riot as not worthy of discussion. Or as largely innocuous, save for some vandalism. Or maybe it’s a government false flag aimed at casting Republicans as racists or something. Rhetorical consistency is not Carlson’s strength, but that is happily for him not a limitation for his job.

So Carlson began by crowing about Fox’s decision to stand apart from its competitors.

“The whole thing is insulting. In fact, it’s deranged,” Carlson said. “And we’re not playing along. This is the only hour on an American news channel that will not be carrying their propaganda live. They are lying, and we’re not going to help them do it.”

Yes, God forbid that Fox News should air an hour of propaganda or dishonesty. Carlson didn’t articulate the purported lies, which he couldn’t have, because the hearing hadn’t actually begun by that point. But it didn’t matter, because his audience wasn’t hearing the evidence from the hearing anyway. Was it a lie when the hearing showed William P. Barr, Trump’s ever-loyal attorney general, describing Trump’s voter-fraud claims as nonsense? Doesn’t matter, just wave it all away as untrustworthy without actually explaining what was said and why it couldn’t be trusted.

How did Carlson’s show go? He transitioned quickly into his frustration that the committee wasn’t addressing the real questions, in his estimation.

“What did happen, exactly, on Jan. 6? What’s the truth of that day?” Carlson said. “Well, that’s still unknown. From the extensive video we have of Jan. 6, it’s clear that some in the crowd, more than a few, were encouraging protesters to breach the Capitol. To commit felonies.”

The rest of us saw the committee begin to build its case that Trump planned and was in charge of all of it.  We saw Jarred say he was too busy processing Presidential Pardons to really know what was going on which is pretty appalling on all kinds of fronts.

From The Washington Times article tweeted above as reported by Joseph Clark: “Liz Cheney: Rep. Scott Perry, ‘multiple’ GOP lawmakers sought pardons from Trump.”

Rep. Scott Perry was among “multiple” Republican lawmakers who sought presidential pardons in the weeks following the attack on the Capitol, the House Jan. 6 committee revealed Thursday.

“Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6th to seek a presidential pardon,” Committee Vice Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, said during the panel’s prime-time hearing.

“Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election,” she said.

Cheney’s presentation was worthy of a major case argued before the Supreme Court. This is also from The Washington Post: “Rep. Liz Cheney tells Americans why Jan. 6 should terrify them. After months of preparation, Cheney tries to convince fellow Republicans and Wyoming voters of a chilling conspiracy.”

On Thursday night, at the first in a series of congressional hearings, Cheney narrated that case with a dispassionate but propulsive presentation of facts, often showing evidence from videotaped depositions from the former president’s inner circle admitting his claims of voter fraud had no merit. She teased the investigation’s biggest findings and sharply criticized her fellow Republicans for the roles that they played — including enabling and continuing to support Trump.

“There will come a point when Donald Trump is gone,” Cheney said, “but your dishonor will remain.”

These hearings, which continue Monday, could mark the pinnacle of Cheney’s political career or the end of it.

The former rising star of the GOP has already been alienated by party leaders, abandoned by longtime supporters and consistently attacked by Trump and his allies, who are backing a primary challenger Cheney will face in August. While most of the nine other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after Jan. 6 have either decided not to run for reelection or mostly avoided discussing the former president, Cheney has made her role as the vice chair of the select committee investigating the insurrection central to her pitch to voters. She is trying to convince them she’s on the right side of history — and that her Trump-free approach to conservatism is the right one.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 28: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks during a Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol business meeting on Capitol Hill March 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. T (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Still, Liz Cheney is no hero. (This links to a piece in The UK Independent from a while ago.)

The New York Times‘s Peter Baker writes this lede “Trump Is Depicted as a Would-Be Autocrat Seeking to Hang Onto Power at All Costs. As the Jan. 6 committee outlined during its prime-time hearing, Donald J. Trump executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election.” Baker describes the overall process and the case it will try to prove as presented in Chair Bennie Thompson’s opening statement.

In the entire 246-year history of the United States, there was surely never a more damning indictment presented against an American president than outlined on Thursday night in a cavernous congressional hearing room where the future of democracy felt on the line.

Other presidents have been accused of wrongdoing, even high crimes and misdemeanors, but the case against Donald J. Trump mounted by the bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol described not just a rogue president but a would-be autocrat willing to shred the Constitution to hang onto power at all costs.

As the committee portrayed it during its prime-time televised hearing, Mr. Trump executed a seven-part conspiracy to overturn a free and fair democratic election. According to the panel, he lied to the American people, ignored all evidence refuting his false fraud claims, pressured state and federal officials to throw out election results favoring his challenger, encouraged a violent mob to storm the Capitol and even signaled support for the execution of his own vice president.

“Jan. 6 was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter put it shortly after Jan. 6, to overthrow the government,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the select committee. “The violence was no accident. It represents Trump’s last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sits at a committee hearing on September 17, 2020. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo

Axios describes the appearance of Bill Barr’s testimony on video.  He was one of the most anticipated ‘guests’ of the night. “Jan 6 committee airs closed door video of Bill Barr deposition”.

The Jan. 6 committee aired a closed door video of former Attorney General Bill Barr’s deposition to kick of the prime-time hearing.

Driving the news: “I told the president it was b******t. I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Barr said.

What they’re saying: CommitteeVice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said that testimony will reveal Trump saying that former Vice President Mike Pence “deserves” to be hanged on Jan. 6, which rioters were shouting.

  • “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” Trump said, according to a testimony read by Cheney.

The big picture: Barr, who resigned in December 2020, has said that former President Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election fueled his decision to cut ties with Trump.

  • Barr said in December 2020 that the Department of Justice had not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the result of the presidential election.

David Frum–writing at The Atlantic– describes “The One Witness at the January 6 Hearing Who Matters Most. It’s you.

The congressional hearing into the events of January 6 on Thursday night focused attention on a single decisive person. Not the hearing’s powerful chair or the meticulous vice chair. Not the former U.S. president who tried to overthrow the government. Not the former vice president whom the former president said deserved hanging. Not the lawless insurrectionists, not the heroic police officers, not the documentarian who caught history on camera. The single decisive person is: you.

Through the Trump years, weary and defeated observers shrugged that nothing mattered, nothing ever moves the needle. America is two tribes, antagonistic; nothing can budge either one any distance.

This fatalism passed as cleverness, even as wisdom. This fatalism also functioned as an excuse. If nothing can be done, then no one can be blamed for not doing it. If nothing can be done, then we’re all off the hook.

The fatalism was always wrong. The important thing to remember about Donald Trump’s presidency is that he was beaten again, and again, and again. His protective congressional majority was stripped away in 2018. He was twice tainted by impeachment. He was defeated for reelection. His conspiracy to overturn that election defeat was thwarted.

Full justice was not served—not yet, anyway. But the country was saved, because enough people summoned up the nerve to do the right thing. Sometimes, that right thing was a terrifyingly close shave. Sometimes, the people doing the right thing had warmed up with a long spell of doing the wrong thing, as Vice President Mike Pence did a lot of wrong things before he did the right thing on January 6, 2021. But if there is one lesson to take from the Trump years, it’s not the cynical Twitter joke “LOL nothing matters.” The lesson is that everything mattered: every act of conscience, every act of honest reporting, every denial of the Big Lie, every ballot.

There are also those who are as duplicitous as Trump.  They need to be held to account also.

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, reached out to almost 30 Arizona lawmakers following then-President Trump’s defeat in the state’s 2020 election, urging them to reject President Biden’s victory, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The Post reported last month that Ginni Thomas sent emails to two lawmakers six days after the election to tell them to work on behalf of Trump and “fight back against fraud.” The most recent report, based on emails The Post obtained, raises the number Thomas contacted to 29.

A video showing former White House Advisor Ivanka Trump speaks during an interview with the Jan. 6 Committee. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

We know who matters more to Trump than Ivanka.  Of course, it’s himself.  We knew it but now there is some proof. From Politico: “‘Checked out’: Trump rebukes Ivanka over Jan. 6 testimony. 

Former President Donald Trump on Friday discounted his own daughter’s testimony that the 2020 presidential election results were not fraudulent.

“Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results. She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!),” Trump posted on Truth Social, the social media platform he helped found.

Barr in his video deposition described Trump’s claims of election fraud as “bullshit.” Ivanka Trump echoed Barr’s comments in her own video testimony.

“I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he was saying,” she said to the committee.

The Capitol Hill police took the last segment of the presentation with their presence and the presence of the widows who lost husbands that day.  Via CBS: “Capitol police officer says “It was carnage, it was chaos” during Jan. 6 public hearing testimony.” 

A U.S. Capitol Police officer described the Jan. 6, 2021, attack as a bloodied “war scene” as she watched injured colleagues try to push back rioters from the Capitol building. Caroline Edwards, believed to be the first law enforcement officer injured by the rioters that day, testified Thursday to the House committee investigating the attack.

“What I saw was just a war scene,” she said. “It was something like I had seen out of the movies. I could not believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer and as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle,” she continued. “I am trained to detain a couple of subjects and handle a crowd, but I’m not combat trained. And that day, it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat.”

I’m not sure if I did any justice to this coverage and event last night but I hope you’ll join me in describing your reaction.  For me, it seems like I just relived something that I never ever expected to see in my lifetime. It feels personal and creates a level of PTSD in me that cannot even get on the Richter Scale of those officers whose lives were on the line. I have never felt closer to those of us that truly care about the dream of liberty and justice for all among us. I’m not sure what we all did to deserve this.

Take care this weekend. The Jan. 6 committee’s next hearing is Monday at 10 a.m. EDT. I will see you then to live blog our next step in this American Journey.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?